Not a great performance and we certainly didn’t continue our impressive play of our previous two and a half games but our team are good enough to beat Odense while not at our best. I as suprised at the strength of our team, was probably our strongest available – we were missing Zamora, Ruiz and Dembele of course – other than the full backs (although that’s under question on both sides) and Sidwell. In a way I was disappointed not to see Gecov or Frei at all during the game but we got a win, our first in a while, and that is wonderful to see. Good away win against a team which can cause problems, beating Villareal for example in their last home game, no injuries assuming Briggs fully recovered from that tackle and relatively little energy expunged, all in all it was solid. Win our next two home games and we should be sorted for the group I think.
Schwarzer – 7, alright I’ve been getting a bit of slack for underrating Schwarzer so maybe I do judge keepers too harshly, usually I’d give a performance like this a 6.5. Anyway pulled off two superb stops, the one from Fall in the first half was sensational. Otherwise he was never tested from crosses and never had to sweep up behind the defence so wasn’t really too troubled over the 90 minutes other than the stops he made. Distribution wasn’t particuarly poor or impressive.
Senderos – 5, I’ve been bigging him up recently but today he was really quite poor. Slipped three or four times in with potentially disastrous concequences but fortunately for him and us there was a goalie, gold shirt or yellow card in the way. Other than that he didn’t make any remarkable clearances or tackles. Senderos picked up an assist too which I won’t give him credit for but he did look up and spot Johnson to play the long ball in his direction which I thought was neat.
Hangeland – 6.5, like Senderos had a fairly sloppy game but stood up strong when he needed too, making some good clearing headers and blocks while we were under pressure. Never really used the ball like he normally does, and while some might point to the through ball for Briggs in the first half I thought it was an average ball which was made good by the right back switching off.
Briggs – 6, didn’t really see too many of those surging runs forward that we know he can make, and I can only remember one on the ball which he should have made more of when almost at the byline but his cutback was poor, but was good as usual with the ball in tight situations. I like his flair from left back, it gives us a different attacking outlet, and an example of that was the nice little flick inside when he got vicuously tackled by Traore. Defensively I thought he was quite solid tonight other than being guilty of being too central a couple of times in the first half which were almost costly.
Kelly – 6.5, …who’s slack marking gave Kadrii alot of time and space to put the ball back into a dangerous area from those two far post crosses. Apart from that though his defending was pretty good, with a few key sliding challenges and blocks. Didn’t really give the ball away although I can’t remember a cross or meaningful action in their final third.
Murphy – 5.5, was very poor overall, giving the ball away numerous times inexplicably and mis-hitting long passes which could have caused Odense trouble. Improved in the second half to be fair and started to get into the swing of things but was then replaced by Sidwell. Wouldn’t have played him personally, like I said I would have preferred to have seen Gecov get another chance.
Etuhu – 5.5, first start for a while and to be fair to him he is getting back into the swing of things after recovering from injury but he was bypassed too often really, not closing down when he could have done (why was he so far from Djemba Djemba so often?), couple of dodgy clearances from long throw-ins. His passing didn’t let him down though which is one issue Fulham fans really have with him and he did make a couple of good intelligent runs into the Odense box but defensively not very good really.
Kasami – 5.5, saw alot of the ball in dangerous positions and credit to him for that but his final ball or decision making when a scoring chance could have been created was dreadful. Really was poor, and that’s uncharacteristic from someone who’s crossing is usually very impressive. His decision making has always been a bit up and down to be fair but he’s only 19 and he will learn from that. Would have played Frei ahead of him but if only to see Frei get some more minutes, not as a refelction on Kasami.
Duff – 6, didn’t attack defenders much at all or put in devestating crosses but made one very good run on his weaker foot across the box and overall had a solid game. His energy levels really are phenomenal, he approaches every game with equal intensity.
Dempsey – 6.5, had some bright moments but shot from distance way too much in the first half. Caused problems for the Odense defence though, and just on perseverence and quick thought alone did well to set up Johnson for his first, plus he worked hard for the midfield.
Johnson – 8, the stand out Fulham man today, scoring the two goals to take us to victory. The first was good, a neat touch when he collected it onto his right foot before striking it low, and while he hit it well the goalkeeper must take the blame I think. The second was superb, wonderfully collecting the ball from out of the sky first time into space and onto his favoured foot in a good position after Senderos’ long clearance, giving him the opportunity to wait, play mind games with the keeper before very nicely curling the ball around him. An excellent goal. Beside them his running into wide positions was tireless and he fizzed in a couple of dangerous balls. After falling out of favour recently it should give him alot of confidence. A couple of nice stats came out of that game too; the first is that Fulham’s never lost when he’s scored and the second is that AJ is now the leading scorer in Europe with 6 from 10 games.
Sidwell – 6, I think that we struggled to keep possession as well when Murphy came off for Sidwell, as I say Murphy was starting to control the game, but he did alright. Nothing really to say.
Sa – N/A, wasn’t on for long and didn’t see much of the ball although was setting up to shoot after a neat run in to the box which could have been interesting if it weren’t for a timely challenge.